Monday, October 18, 2010

Did Jesus Contradict Himself?

Interesting discussion at my recovery group last night. Did Jesus contradict himself at the Sermon of the Mount? Specifically, Matthew 5:16, where Jesus instructs us to "let [our] light shine before men" and Matthew 6:1, where he warns us "not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them."

So my question of the week is simply, what do you think? How do you let your light shine while not doing "good deeds" to be seen?

I have my answer, but I'm first interested in your thoughts.

6 comments:

Michael Perkins said...

Okay, this is tough, but here's my 2 cents worth.

It's when we are not concerned with getting the credit.

I can let my light shine, but if I want the recognition, then it's in vain. INMHO.

Ryan Tate said...

Throughout the sermon on the mount Jesus was contrasting two disticnt types of people: (1) the super-religious and (2) those in Christ. You have to look at it that way, and realize who was in the crowd that day.

The first group will let their light shine before men to get their reward from men and earn it from God. The second group will let their light shine before men to get their reward from God with nothing to earn. The first group will do acts of righteousness before men to get their reward from men and earn it from God. The second group will do acts of righteousness before men to get their reward from God with nothing to earn.

Or basically, what Michael said.

n. davis rosback said...

i am thinking that perhaps doing "acts" of rightousness is different from '"letting" our "light" shine.

probably the acts of rightousness as in giving money, God wants to be between the giver and God. and letting light shine is God's light in us...it is allowing ourself to be used by God for His Glory.

the use of money...it is a very powerful and sticky thing to humans.

like a chunk of gold...what does it make you, what does it do to you. to give is our giving up this illusion of power and seeing God as all powerful. that is a personal thing between us and God.

Letting our light shine...the Light being God in us. that is different. That is seeing that we belong to God and allowing God to use us out where there are people.

okay...so
what do you think?

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks everyone for sharing. Our discussion last night had three ways of looking at it. The first, and most widely held, was the same as what Ryan and Michael said- it's about motive. The second, which was how I looked at it, was a lot like Nancy's response- "acts of righteousness" are our efforts versus a lifestyle that reflects Christ. The warning here is against religious legalism- that righteousness isn't a list of to-dos. But the third take I found the most interesting- that the first is a collective instruction, i.e. the Church, versus an individual act described later. The clue for this pov is Jesus' illustration of a "city".

Either way, good food for thought!

n. davis rosback said...

i am not getting the collective and individual thing...

Fatha Frank said...

Nancy, part of it is who gets the glory and if we're trying to do things on our own. The city on a hill can be seen from miles away not because of a single light but because of the light of many.